Argentina is highly urbanized with 92% of its population living in cities and half of the county’s total population live in the top ten metropolitan areas. Bu far the largest metropolitan area is Buenos Aires with a population of 13,834,000, making it one of the most populated metropolitan areas in the world. Buenos Aires is a fine example of a primate city. In a perfect situation the second city in a country is half the size of the largest city but this is not the case in Argentina. The country is dominated by its capital that was formed in the 14th century.
The location of the city is the main reason that it was first occupied and why it has grown so rapidly. Sited on the banks of the Rio de la Plata the city grew as a Spanish trading outpost. The port brought a large amount of business to the city and it was able to be used to export all of the rich harvest that was being produced from the nearby Pampas. The city has been built with a style that reflected the Spanish occupancy of the colonial period. This has left behind an urbanized area full of magnificent buildings. A tour of the city gives the impression of it being any European city, as the malls, districts and entertainment centres are similar to those found on the other side of the Atlantic.
Buenos Aires has a variety of neighborhoods ranging from the working class areas down near the dock sides to the upper class areas that are dominated by high class shopping areas, top end restaurants and vast parks and green areas. One particular working class area is La Boca that has a European feel to it as it was occupied by many of its early settlers emanating from Genoa in Italy. It is the home to many tango halls, colorful galleries and restaurants, plus one of the most famous club football sides in the world, Boca Juniors. Argentina’s second largest city is Cordoba with a population of 1,500,000 and is found around 750 km to the north-west of the capital. Also founded by the Spanish in 1573 the city is famed for having the oldest university in the country and for its stunning architecture with many beautifully designed buildings.
The city was originally occupied by many migrants from Spain and Italy who were able to make the most of the rich agricultural produce that the local area was harvesting each year. The industrialization of the city was closely related to agriculture with leather industries, woolen industries and other such businesses emerging in the city. With the high standard of education in the city more high tech industries started to emerge such as the Military Aircraft Manufacturer (FMA) which was established in 1927. The economy today is driven by the banking institutions that have made Cordoba their home. The city is an attractive destination for visitors as new shopping malls have been built and there are many museums and galleries.
Mendoza is the 4th largest city in Argentina and is situated at the foot of the Andes. It is the heart of the county’s wine making region and is also popular for tourists and climbers as a stop off before they make their trip up the mountains. The city had to be rebuilt after the earthquake of 1861 that killed at least 5000 people. The design of the city is very much related to the geography of the area with wide streets and large squares created so that any further seismic activity would not have such drastic effects.
The city still relies on the wine and the tourist industries but recently it has benefited from the discovery of oil and uranium in the region. The annual migration of many tourists each year into the city has resulted in many museums being built that celebrate the culture of the region.